Many believe Johny "Bigg Rigg" Hendricks should already be the UFC welterweight champion. He appeared to beat the living daylights out of Georges St-Pierre in Nov. 2013 but lost the bout by split decision.
As cards and compelling bouts go, this one goes about seven fights deep. On my unofficial UFC pay-per-view ratings scale, that's enough strong matches to warrant a buy.
"The Natural Born Killer" Carlos Condit takes on "The Chosen One" Tyron Woodley. Diego "Dream" Sanchez returns against Myles "Fury" Jury and more.
This event will feature a wealth of young, up-and-coming fighters. It could ultimately become one of the most important events for the promotion's next superstars. Adam Martin of Parting Shot MMA breaks down the ages of some of the top fighters in action:
This should be good. Here's the viewing information, the card, as well as predictions (in parentheses) for each bout. Just below the match list is a closer look at three of the most intriguing bouts on this stacked card.
Date: March 15, 2014 at 6 p.m. ET
Venue: American Airlines Center
Location: Dallas, Texas
Preliminary Bouts at 6 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass
- Lightweight: Renee Forte vs. Francisco Trevino (Trevino by KO)
- Flyweight: Will Campuzano vs. Justin Scoggins (Scoggins by KO)
- Middleweight: Bubba McDaniel vs. Sean Strickland (Strickland by KO)
- Featherweight: Daniel Pineda vs. Robert Whiteford (Whiteford by decision)
Preliminary Bouts at 8 p.m. on FOX Sports 1
- Welterweight: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Rick Story (Gastelum by decision)
- Women's Bantamweight: Raquel Pennington vs. Jessica Andrade (Andrade by KO)
- Featherweight: Dennis Bermudez vs. Jimy Hettes (Hettes by submission)
- Welterweight: Sean Spencer vs. Alex Garcia (Garcia by KO)
Main Card Bouts at 10 p.m. ET on Pay-Per-View
- UFC Welterweight Championship: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler (Lawler by KO)
- Welterweight: Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley (Condit by decision)
- Lightweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Myles Jury (Jury by decision)
- Welterweight: Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard (Shields by decision)
- Light Heavyweight: Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita "Al Capone" Krylov (Krylov by submission)
Al Capone Will Neutralize St. Preux's Power
St. Preux is a gifted athlete and dangerous striker, but when he faces Krylov on Saturday, his takedown defense better be in order.
Krylov is a fairly balanced fighter, but the 21-year-old Russian has an advanced submissions game. Of his 16 wins, 10 of them have come by submission. He's a little inexperienced and doesn't always adopt the best strategy (see his fight with Soa Palelei), but he could make this an easy fight on the ground.
Since he arrived in the UFC, it seems he's been trying to prove he's an elite striker. While it's good to be diverse—and he did flatten Walt Harris in his last bout—it's still good to fight to one's strengths.
He has a shot if he keeps the bout standing, but not a good one. St. Preux is quick and explosive. Look for Krylov to take it to the mat and win by submission.
Condit Will Be Too Long, Tough and Skilled for Woodley
The Chosen One's ferocious striking and dynamic wrestling makes him one of the most dangerous welterweights in the UFC. However, he'll have trouble penetrating Condit's reach—and even if he does, The Natural Born Killer is great on his back.
Woodley will have to be wary of submission attempts. Condit has submitted 13 of his opponents and knocked out 14.
There's no question Woodley is the stronger, quicker fighter. That said, Condit is five inches taller and he has a more diverse attack and set of defenses. Condit will win by decision.
Lawler Will Win a Thriller by Decision
Who wins Lawler-Hendricks and how?
Both of these men can bang with the best of them. Because they are both blessed with explosive power, it would seem as if a knockout finish is inevitable.
Hendricks could try to take Lawler down. Bigg Rigg is a former NCAA Division I wrestling champion. That said, Lawler has worked on every aspect of his game. He's no longer the one-dimensional masher he was when he first arrived in the UFC in 2002.
He talked about his skill advancement with Steven Marrocco and John Morgan of MMA Junkie. Lawler said: "everything’s kind of clicking at the right time. My skills are getting better, and I’m getting stronger and training with a great team. It’s awesome to be a part of."
There's no question Hendricks could turn Lawler's lights out with a heavy right or left hand, but Lawler is quicker and taller. In a race to see who lands the big shot first, Lawler has the tools to arrive before Hendricks.
Follow me. I dig combat sports.